We don't know what it is about the '69 1/2 Six Pack lift-off hood cars that makes us turn into slack jawed, drooling, mouth-breathers, but it never fails to happen every time we see one. Well, okay, that's not exactly true-we know exactly what it is about them-three two-barrel carbs sitting on a big block, all underneath a scooped, fiberglass lift-off hood, accentuated by plain black painted steel wheels.
No hood hinges, no wheel covers, no trim rings, no pretenses: These cars were designed for the drag strip and somehow got turned loose on the public en route. The sheer audacity Chrysler displayed by putting these things in the general public's hands is beyond words!
Jeff Dodson of Conyers, Georgia, had always liked them and found this one while attending dental school in 1979. Originally assembled at Lynch Road, the car was shipped to Holton Dodge in Atlanta, where it listed for $4,168.25. Jeff was the third owner, and the combination of Georgia's mild climate and good care by its previous owners allowed the car to serve as Jeff's daily transportation through school. From there, it saw him into a marriage, a son, his own practice and his own carburetor rebuilding and tuning service, Six Packs To Go.
When the car's odometer reached 106,000 miles, it was treated to a well deserved freshening up. Jeff totally rebuilt and restored the car's front suspension, upgrading to polyurethane bushings along the way. The original torsion bars were still in good shape, so they were reinstalled. At the back end, the Dana 60 was reworked, and the original 4.10 cogs shelved in favor of more cruiser-friendly 3.54s-"we like to take the car out on the expressways, so we swapped it," Jeff said. Koni and Gabriel shocks and the original drum brakes at all four corners round out the suspension, while a set of Wheel-Vintiques modified 15x7 and 15x10 Magnums put the 235/60R15 front and 295/50R15 rear BFG Radial T/A tires to the ground. "When I bought the car, it didn't have the original wheels on it, and I've always liked the Magnums, so I sent them out to Wheel Vintiques and had them enlarged," said Jeff.
The car was in remarkably good shape for having over a hundred grand on the clock. Jeff gave the body a fresh coat of its original Hemi Orange hue in PPG base coat/clear coat, and topped it with a stripe kit from Year One. The hood and vinyl top were in such good shape they were left alone. The interior was also in remarkably good shape, with only the carpet and front seat covers needing to be replaced with more Year One parts. The dashface and pad, rear seat covers, door panels, and headliner, though, are genuine articles. Even the usually finicky tic-toc-tach still functions as it did over thirty years ago. "I still have the original spare in the trunk, too. Guys are always trying to buy that from me when I take it to shows," Jeff laughed.
But under the hood is where things take a radical departure from normal. Starting from the bottom up, the original crank was given the heave in favor of a 1/2-inch stroker crank from a Top Fuel car (that only had eight passes on it), procured from Crankshaft Specialists in Tennessee. Total displacement is 504 cubic inches after the block was bored. Stock connecting rods hold Arias forged aluminum pistons that are good for a 9.8:1 final compression ratio, while the heads are 452 castings fitted with 2.14 intake and 1.81 Manley stainless steel valves. The cam is an Engle #835 hydraulic unit, featuring .517 lift, 108 degree lobe centers with a 288 degree duration, which is transferred to the valves via Crane high Intensity lifters and early Zeeker aluminum roller rockers, which are no longer available. "It's actually a very mild cam-it's got high lift, but short duration, which I felt would work well with the Six Pack. It's a good mid-range cam; 2500-6500 rpm is the power band on that intake, and I thought that cam would work real well with it," the doc told us. The 727 trans is fitted with a B&M flex plate to mate to the Top Fuel crank's eight-bolt flange, and the original 1850 rpm stall speed converter was retained, while a B&M shift plate (not a whole kit) is employed for gear changes. "I like that torque converter," Jeff told us. "It has no slip to it at all."
A custom made set of ceramic coated 2 1/8-inch Hooker fenderwell headers send the gasses through 2 1/4-inch aluminum coated exhaust pipes, Chrysler part number-stamped Hemi mufflers, and out the original exhaust tips.
Having ridden shotgun in the car, and having felt the perfectly smooth, hesitation-free transition of Jeff's tuned Six Pack induction on the more than 500 cubic inches, we know his combination works. Since finishing the project, Jeff's put over 6,000 miles on the car, which is pretty impressive considering it shares transport duties with an equally-built Duster and a Viper.
Still, there's nothing like a hot Six Pack on a cool Georgia evening to really put things in perspective.